Monthly Archives: July 2015

#DeutscheBimble15 – Black Forest Heaven

Day 7 – 8 Neustadt – Hinterholz(Black Forest)

940 Miles

We left Neustadt early on the Tuesday morning, with no real plan, other than to drive to Baden-Baden and pick up the Bundesstrasse B500. This tourist road, built in the 1930’s takes you south from Baden-Baden, through a 2.5km tunnel, it then climbs over the high ground that dominates the north of the Black Forest. The road cuts below the highest point at Hornisgrinde at a height of about 1000m. So to give that some perspective, the road at it’s highest point is just a bit lower than Mt Snowdon. It’s fairly underused, although the pace of life picks up in the winter as the cross-county skiers arrive en-masse. The Chucklebus dealt with the road admirably, although the new set of rear brake pads we had fitted prior to the trip had an opportunity to bed in on the way down! Especially when the one “pimmelkopf” on the road…a middle-aged brit biker, decided at one of the numerous suicidal bends for an overtake. (We saw him later down at the base, I signalled what a good rider he was!)

After climbing over that feature the landscape changed and the area became a mixture of huge swathes of forests interspersed with alpine style villages and pastureland. Beautiful, isolated and peaceful. At this stage we were following the satnav, which took us deeper into the forests, off the main routes…life was getting interesting, lots of switchbacks, hairpins and hill-climbs, all within steep forestry.

This is where we are now. Hinterholz

This is where we are now. Hinterholz

Eventually we ended up in a small hamlet called Hinterholz, consisting of two houses, one of which was a stube. http://www.hinterholzstube.de

Hinterholz. The van is parked behind the facing barn. The pub to the right.

I spoke to the young fraulein who answered in perfect English. Yes! we could park the van here for €5 per night, with electric, “just park alongside the barn”. Happy days, what a fantastic spot, even the mutts was doing cartwheels, especially when he spotted the goats! It turned out that english-speaking Julia was the niece of Heinz, the proprietor of the pub, a really nice guy, who has the good fortune to live in what many brits would consider to be paradise. We certainly did. Without hesitation we decided this would be our base for the next two nights.

The Parking Space!

The Parking Space!

A view!

A view!

Another View!

Another View!

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A damp stroll back to the Chucklebus

So we’ve spent our time doing some forest walks, glimpsing sight of the occasional deer, and generally chilling out. The weather hasn’t been great, similar to the UK I suppose, although slightly warmer, despite the rain. This evening we are planning on a bratty and a couple of beers at the stube, we still can’t believe our luck in finding this….perhaps this is the norm? We will see as we move further south towards Bavaria over the next few days!

Tomorrow we up sticks and drive south to Meersburg, on the shore of Lake Constance.

Stube Update: For “Essen” this evening. Black Forest dry cured bacon(makes a change from gateau). Also rib steak sausage cutlets. Washed down with ice cold Alpirsbach BierVery rustic and very South Germany. The doggy bag is on a full security lockdown until tomorrow.

That is all.

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#DeutscheBimble15 – I Ain’t Getting Wet!

The Route From the Moselle

The Route From the Moselle

Day 6 Bremm – Neustadt

815 Miles

Today started off with the best of intentions, we would spend another 24hrs in the Moselle, just one more night! This time we planned to move to Wintrich, which we quite fancied as the campsite was right on the banks of the river…problem was, it was raining…heavily. Now don’t get me wrong, the Moselle is pretty impressive by anyones standard, but when it’s raining, I might as well be stuck in a hole on Senneybridge…been there, done it, got the tee-shirt. So after a quick discussion with the “Other Half”, we decided to say auf wiedersehen to the Moselle and make tracks further south to Neustadt and hopefully better weather, which would also put us closer to our goal of reaching the Black Forest. Much better to be moving with a purpose, than static and staring out of the van window at a rainswept valley….we can do that at home!

As we drove further down the Moselle, it was clear the Germans had “Capital Projects” spilling out of their ears. Bridge building, new roads, general improvements, all designed to support what is effectively a string of villages, supporting a huge drinks and tourism industry. It made me feel as a Brit, fairly inadequate. We just don’t seem to have the will or desire at a political level to get things like this done. If the Germans managed the Lake District, or the North Wales Coast, the transport infrastructure would be very different. The picture below is a bridge, being inserted across the valley, to improve on an existing bridge, that supports a large village…..that’s it! It’s huge and shows a level of commitment that we seem to lack.  Bloody Germans! 🙂

A little bit of bridge building

A little bit of bridge building

Another thing I discovered on todays run…German FM Radio…Oh!! I was in heaven…I found a nationwide station where every track is a classic. No adverts either…Here’s a selection, which those of a certain age or style will appreciate:

Winds of Change – Europe

Who’s got the Look – Roxette

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zep

Hotel California – Eagles

Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

Never Can Say Goodbye – Gloria Gaynor

Basically it was my entire apple music collection….who wouldn’t want to drive to that?  The “Other Half” had a face like fury, she still thinks she’s 15yrs old and is into Taylor Swift/Rihanna/Mumford & Sons and suchlike. There wasn’t a song I never sang the lyrics too over the period of the 3hour drive…a marvellous day…..For me!

So now it’s a another winery in another Stadt. This time “Weingut Schafer, a peaceful location, just a couple of kms outside of Neustadt. Tomorrow we’re planning to head to Baden-Baden and start the Black Forest stage.

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The entrance

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The view from the Chucklebus

German FM Update. They’ve just played “Disco Duck!”  Big Thumbs up!

That is all

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#DeutscheBimble15 – The Schlep Down South!

Day 1 N. Wales – The Tunnel

300 Miles

Full of joyous optimism, we drove down to the tunnel, sadly that bubble burst about 2hrs into the journey, as we heard reports on the radio that Operation Stack was in force on the M20. Basically the French were kicking off on their side, so our crossings were delayed. The M20 from Junction 8 was now officially a lorry park. With all approaching routes gridlocked. Happy days.

Not to be deterred, we had an overnight stop planned, so we snuck away from the traffic jams and drove the back-roads through the stunning Kent villages and byways, eventually stopping at New Romney, buying excellent fish & chips and parking alongside the shingle beach to enjoy them as the sun was setting. As a child of the 60’s this area is ingrained in my mind. This is the general location that “Dads Army” is based on, a little piece of old England, also I’d spent a lot of my military service in and out of the area on various training stints , so I had a wealth of lamp-swinging stories with which to bore the “Other Half”, normally involving copious amounts of beer and other pub-based shenanigans!….zzzzzzzzzzzzz She slept well.

New Romney beach

New Romney beach

Tomorrow would be another day.

Day 2 Kent – Brugge

379 Miles

After a overnight stop at the services at junction 11, at 0700hrs we attempted to get in the queue to Junc 11a, the mystical location of the tunnel access. Operation Stack had been lifted, all was looking good!,  OMG! Queue of death on the feeder lane into Junc 11a and not a police officer in sight, pandemonium reigned. People were wandering around the motorway, walking the dogs, and making new friends. This is a motorway right? No mate, it’s a bloody car park!

The M20 Carpark

The M20 Carpark

To add insult to injury, The Tunnel publicity department was pumping out meaningless messages via SMS/twitter apologising for the delays…apparently due to an “Incident” at Ashford. Since yesterday we had been following Kent police/highways twitter feeds. They all talked about the queues, but gave no detail or solutions, it was gridlock. Then we decided to tune into local radio…and after about 20mins of inane drivel and cheesy hits of the 80’s, the announcer suddenly piped up Smashy & Nicey styleee…

”Ok folks, I’m hearing there is a lorry broken down at junction 11a. If you’re in a car, avoid the inside lane, you should be able to get access at the point where the lorry is stuck” I could have hugged him. I swung the Chucklebus into Lane 2 and drove through the traffic like the PM’s House of Commons convoy on a Wednesday lunchtime. Within three minutes I was in the tunnel access area. What a very British shambles!

After that, everything went smoothly, albeit with a 2hr delay. Once we exited the tunnel at Calais and headed for Belgium, the migrants were clearly in view, roaming along the motorway and initial junctions, but we were heading the wrong way, so there were no issues for us. By 3pm we were parked up in Brugge at Camp Memling, for an overnight stop. Expensive by our standards, it served our need, as we had always fancied a trip to the city.

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The site is about a 30min walk from the city centre, and we enjoyed a couple of hours mooching around the little streets and squares. Mutts particularly enjoyed our meal, at a restaurant in the main square, hunkered down under the table, covertly receiving his gifts for being a good boy, in the shape of frittes and the occasional slice of omelette. …He’s never been so well behaved!

Later I slept the sleep of 10 men.

Day 3 Brugge – Bergan (Moselle Valley)

630 Miles

Another long run today, moving some 250 miles from Belgium, through Holland and into Germany, a bit like the Blitzkrieg of 1940, but in reverse order and slightly (just) less aggressive in style. I have to say, what an easy drive. The motorways in all three countries are well maintained and tightly controlled. The lorries seem to apply better lane discipline, not sure if it’s through legislation or routine, either way it works. The “Other Half” did a sterling job on the maps (she will be reading this), as we headed up to Antwerp and then swung across towards Eindhooven, Koln and Koblenz, before hitting the Moselle Valley and heading west in the direction of Burgen, our overnight stop.

Burgen

Burgen

Later in the afternoon, I got all military, ordered the Other Half to get her kit on…”Where we going pet, a stroll along the river?” … Nein mein liebling! Das Burgen Hof…. pointing vaguely up to the wooded feature that dominated the skyline on the one side of the horrendously steep valley…. even the dog gave me that look that speaks volumes.  So off we went in 26’c heat, following a well-marked track for an hour until we reached the top of the feature called the “The Burgen Hof”. A much-need opportunity to stretch the legs, after the confines of the van for the previous 48hrs. At the top we were rewarded with a glorious view, across a huge swathe of forest and pasture land, very scenic.

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From the Hof, down to Burgen

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Check me out with my “Crowd Sourced” Tilly!

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A Buzzard!

The area is home to a large number of “Maüse” Buzzards, we saw groups of them hunting within a fairly small area, whereas in the UK we only tend to see ones or two’s, here we counted 6-7 grouped together, the dog stayed close! Great to watch though, even the “Other Half” was impressed with what I’d laid on (cough).

Day 4 – Ernst

646 Miles

It rained, we mooched.

Day 5 – Bremm

668 Miles

The sun shone today, everyones happy again. So now we’re parked up at a small winery called “Oster-Franzen”. A nice 5 mile stroll this afternoon, up the Hechherd.

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Starting off from the stelleplatz at Bremm

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Grapes, grapes and not a drop to drink!

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Very nice

Later this evening for the cost of €10 we attended a wine-tasting for idiots, seemed apt! The “Other half” of course, being a culture vulture and N. Irish to boot, necked all 4 x glasses, in 4 easy movements….so the “Token Brit Couple” were back in the van by 7.30pm, with a curry and the guilty conscience bottle of riesling I’d bought off the proprietors to try and make amends!

That is all.

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#DeutscheBimble15 – The Countdown

The most eagerly awaited event in our annual calendar is nearly upon us. ! Last year we wetted our appetite for foreign jaunts with our #LeGrandeTour14. This year, in a few short days, we”ll be heading into the heart of Germany on #DeutscheBimble15. Hoping to get leathered on cheap wine in the Moselle Valley, stuff ourselves silly in the Black Forest on ham or cake(I’m a brit, I assume that’s what the area is famous for?), get lobster red on the shores of Lake Constance and finally some alpine meanderings before heading north back to Calais and whatever fun awaits us there. (The “other half” is polishing her hockey stick and practising her swing as I write!) 

I have a route in my head…sort off. But nothing booked other than the tunnel….seat of your pants stuff, that’s what keeps the blood flowing old boy; What could possibly go wrong!

To be continued…………..

That is all.

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